Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped hundreds of organizations choose the right data preparation software to meet the data cleaning and consolidation needs of their business.

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TapClicks

TapClicks is a smart marketing cloud-based set of automated marketing solutions designed to work in unison, powered by your data. We make the complex world of marketing easy with everything a business needs to differentiate itself... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Domo

Domo is the Business Cloud®, empowering organizations of all sizes with BI leverage at cloud scale in record time. With Domo, BI-critical processes that took weeks, months or more can now be done on the fly, in minutes or seconds,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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ClicData

ClicData is a business intelligence (BI) dashboard solution designed for use primarily by small and midsized businesses. The tool enables end users to create reports and dashboards. A drag-and-drop interface designed for ease... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Dundas BI

Dundas BI, from Dundas Data Visualization, is a browser-based business intelligence and data visualization platform that includes integrated dashboards, reporting tools, and data analytics. It provides end users the ability to cre... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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Infor Birst

Birst, an Infor Company, is a web-based networked BI and analytics solution that connects insights from various teams and helps in making informed decisions. The tool enables decentralized users to augment the enterprise data mode... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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Yellowfin

Yellowfin, a business intelligence platform, is a single integrated solution developed for companies across varying industries and scaling sizes. This system is customizable to suit businesses in accounting, advertising, agri... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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PlaidCloud

PlaidCloud is a comprehensive business analytics platform that combines data analysis tools, flexible workflows, and business processes to deliver a solution designed to help analyst teams collaboratively develop business models a... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Incorta

Incorta is a unified data analytics platform that provides a true self-service data experience. The software enables organizations to quickly and accurately make decisions based on vast easy to digest data sets. Incorta is a ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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BOARD

Created to combine business intelligence, corporate performance management, and business analytics, BOARD is a full-featured business intelligence system that serves midsize and enterprise-level companies in a variety of different... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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SellScience

scalematters is a data-first business intelligence company that helps SaaS and subscription businesses reduce customer acquisition costs and unleash rapid growth. Too many SaaS companies are flying blind, wasting upwards of 5... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Unsupervised

Unsupervised is a data intelligence platform built on unsupervised AI for companies seeking analytics and business intelligence software. Unsupervised ingests both unstructured and structured data from multiple sources, autonomous... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Precision BI

PrecisionBI is a healthcare analytics and visualization platform that combines clinical, financial, and business data all in one place; turning disparate data into insights for impactful decisions. With over 25 years of expe... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Iotics Event Data Platform

Iotics is a solution for any business looking to enable unconstrained data interactivity to their tech stack. Iotics digital twin technology allows for communication across the entire digital ecosystem of your assets. Whether it’s... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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BullseyeEngagement Business Intelligence Dashboards

BullseyeEngagement's Business Intelligence Dashboards synthesize data from various sources and make complex information easily understandable. These highly customizable dashboards were built to give busy business leaders real-time... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Tableau

Tableau is an integrated business intelligence (BI) and analytics solution that helps to analyze key business data and generate meaningful insights. The solution helps businesses to collect data from multiple source points such as... Read more

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Sisense

Sisense is an agile business intelligence (BI) solution that provides advanced tools to manage and support business data with analytics, visuals and reporting. The solution allows businesses to analyze big and disparate datasets a... Read more

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IFTTT

IFTTT is a data integration software, which helps fintech, home automation, and energy companies connect applications and devices with third-party integrations. The software allows financial institutions to connect apps or website... Read more

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Stata

Stata is a statistical analysis solution designed to help businesses streamline data analysis, manipulation, visualization and management. It allows businesses to create, merge, sort, and merge multiple datasets, import/export dat... Read more

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Oracle Business Intelligence

Oracle Business Intelligence Suite is a cloud-based solution that helps small to large enterprises gain insights into organizational performance using predictive analytics, facilitating decision-making processes. The centralized p... Read more

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Argos

Argos is an on-premise business intelligence (BI) solution for higher education institutions. Key features include ad hoc report creation, report filtering, report exporting, connections with multiple data sources and object and d... Read more

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Buyers guide

As a business, you need to trust that your data is complete, formatted, and up-to-date so you can make accurate business decisions. It can be disastrous if the data you're using for analysis or decision-making is inaccurate, and that's why data preparation is key to business success.

Data preparation allows businesses to simplify and automate various manual processes that are associated with collecting and cleaning data. Data preparation tools enhance operational efficiency and accuracy.

However, selecting one data preparation tool from among the hundreds on the market can be overwhelming. That's why we've created this buyers guide to detail everything you need to know before making the final purchase decision.

Here's what we'll cover:

What is data preparation software?

Data preparation software is a tool that allows businesses to explore, gather, and manipulate data into a form that is ready for analysis. The software cleans and consolidates data into a single table, file, or curated dataset for data visualization or other operational processes.

Data preparation software is useful when you need to:

  • Combine data from multiple sources
  • Manually enter data into spreadsheets
  • Deal with unstructured data (e.g., PDF files or web pages)

Patient info and billing alerts

Clean data for analysis in Tableau's Prep Builder (Source)

Common features of data preparation software

Different vendors offer different features in their data preparation software. Selecting the best data preparation software for your business is easier when you know what the common features are and what they do.

Data access

Access and import structured or semi-structured data from multiple sources.

Data mashup/data blending

Blend multiple types of data sources, or normalize multiple data sources into common formats for integrated data analyses.

Data transformation

Transform raw data into usable data by correcting typos, standardizing data, and converting and normalizing numeric values into standard forms.

Data modeling

Specify data types and their relationships with each other.

Interactive user interface (UI)

Combine multiple data sources through an intuitive, visually oriented UI.

Collaboration

Share, comment on, and promote datasets.

Data governance

Leverage security features such as data encryption, user permission, authentication, and security filtering at user/group/role levels.

To further understand these features and learn about data preparation software vendors, call our advisors at 855-998-8505 for free, no-obligation help. They'll help you narrow down your options by listening to your requirements and recommending the best-suited solutions for your business.

What type of buyer are you?

Before you start evaluating data preparation software options, you'll need to know what buyer category you belong to. We believe most buyers will fall into one of the below categories:

  • Business owners and analyst teams: Business owners often use the tool themselves or hire business analyst teams to do the job. These teams are found in every business that is involved in any form of data analysis. Business analyst workgroups use data preparation tools to collate data from different sources, avoid manual data entry, and transform unstructured data. They usually don't need complex dashboard capabilities or governance features, but would require functionalities such as data access, data blending, and data transformation.

  • IT departments: Even though data preparation tools are designed for business users (owners and analysts), IT departments also use these tools in many organizations. In addition to data cleaning features, IT departments prefer tools with data modeling capabilities, since they'll have to support data modeling for the whole organization rather than just a small analyst workgroup. They'll need a tool that offers data governance to protect sensitive data from users who don't need to access it as part of their roles.

Benefits of data preparation software

While some of the benefits of data preparation software may be clear from our discussion above, we've called out the most notable ones below:

  • Accurate business decisions: Cleaner data results in better data analyses and reporting, which eventually leads businesses to make more accurate business decisions.

  • Reduced data errors: Data preparation tools minimize manual intervention in processes such as collation and consolidation, thus reducing errors.

Key considerations

Here are some important aspects to consider before you purchase data preparation software:

  • Scalability: Ask your shortlisted vendors about the scalability of their tools. You'll need a solution that supports your business as it grows and is able to handle your expanding needs. For instance, if you plan to go from being a single-location business to a multi-location one, the software must be able to gather data from all the new locations and handle the higher volume.

  • Customer support: Find out if the vendor offers support 24/7, only during business hours, or not at all. Also, ask about available support options, such as email, phone, or live chat.

Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.